Marketing Insights
Marin Software's Official Blog

Posts Tagged ‘campaign optimization’

Marin Software Partners with Tag Management Leader, TagMan

By February 19th, 2013

Marin Software and TagMan are delighted to announce a new, certified partnership which brings Online Marketers the opportunity to streamline deployment of both tracking solutions and open up a world of best-in-breed attribution, reporting and campaign optimisation.

Tagman Logo

TagMan is the global leader in tag management, with the industry’s most mature and proven platform for enterprise e-commerce. Since launching the first, independent tag management platform in 2007, TagMan has been helping over 100 customers solve tagging, site performance and attribution-related challenges.

This partnership will allow post-attributed, de-duplicated conversion and revenue data to flow automatically from TagMan into Marin, enabling online marketers to jump-start their day using Marin’s powerful analytics-to-action interface and renowned optimisation tools. Several joint clients have already benefited from the integration and we look forward to many more in the future.


Historical Quality Score and Why It Matters To Search Marketers

By February 5th, 2013

Of all the search publisher metrics available, Quality Score seems to always receive the most attention; yet search marketers have the least amount of visibility into how to effectively improve it and its impact on performance. What we do know is that every time a user conducts a search that triggers ads, a Quality Score is calculated based on a number of factors, including:

  • The keyword’s past click-through rate (CTR)
  • The display URL’s past CTR
  • The account history
  • The quality of the landing page
  • The keyword/ad relevance
  • The keyword/search relevance

Notice that the first three factors on Google’s list reference performance history, even though the history of a keyword’s Quality Score is unavailable within the AdWords interface. Instead, rather than showing different Quality Scores across time, Google displays a single Quality Score that provides an estimate of that keyword’s overall quality.

For the most part this is adequate—search marketers analyze Quality Score at individual moments in time to understand keyword relevance and performance issues. However, this one-off-style approach to analyzing Quality Score fails to provide insight into how search marketers’ continuous efforts to optimize campaigns impact Quality Score, either positively or negatively.

Whether it’s testing brand new creative or introducing additional negative keywords, improving a keyword’s Quality Score can lead to a lower cost-per-click (CPC) and a higher ad position. Changes in these two metrics can subsequently impact, among other things: CTR, costs, and return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, the influence each of those best practices has on keyword Quality Score is frequently lost with time, especially within larger accounts. Imagine having to record the daily Quality Score for two million keywords affected by new creative messaging.

Marin Historical Quality Score Chart

To understand the impact of optimization efforts on Quality Score, search marketers need the ability to trend historical Quality Score, against other performance metrics, over time.

For example, by trending Quality Score and average CPC over a 3 month period, search marketers can understand the exact impact on cost that comes from an increase in Quality Score from 6 to 8. Trends that include other metrics like ROI and conversion rate highlight the indirect impact that Quality Score has on conversion and revenue goals. Though the concept of trending Quality Score over time appears basic, many search marketers are unable to do so.

To see a demo of historical Quality Score and other advance metrics in action, please contact Marin.

The Search Marketer’s Post-Holiday Checklist

By December 26th, 2012

Post-Holiday Wrapping

The holiday season is approaching the finish line and 2012 is almost officially in the books. With Product Listing Ads seeing increased adoption and mobile devices continuing to garner the attention of consumers and advertisers, 2013 should prove to be yet another challenging, but rewarding year for search marketers. But before we usher in the New Year, we need to remember that our work in 2012 is not yet over. With the busiest part of the holiday shopping season behind us, it’s time to take a step back and prepare our paid search programs for success in 2013. This four item checklist will help search marketers review and prioritize our post-holiday campaign management and optimization efforts.

1. Review Keyword Bids

To acquire more revenue and in anticipation of increased competition, many retailers boosted their bids during the holiday shopping season. These boosts are typically implemented when there are seasonal increases in revenue-per-click (RPC) or conversion rate. As the peak of the shopping season ends, RPC and conversion rate are likely to drop.

Example RPC Boost Schedule

With visitors spending less, or less likely to convert during this time of the year, search marketers should adjust keyword bids to align with current seasonal RPC or conversion rate. Waiting too long to dampen these bids can lead to wasted ad spend and poor campaign performance. This strategy also applies to B2B and lead gen companies. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be spending more per click for less relevant or unqualified traffic.

2. Pause Holiday-Specific Promotions

Promote Special Offers Example

Did you promote any discounts or free shipping offers? Is there any holiday themed content for your ad creative or landing pages? As holiday promotions end and the season comes to a close, review your active ad creative and landing pages and ensure that they align with your promotional calendar. Nothing hurts the shopping experience more than an outdated content or expired promotional offers. Last year, I remember seeing post-holiday search ads with expired discounts. Don’t be that search marketer! Pause or schedule to pause any holiday ad creative and revert landing pages back to their standard theme. In fact, activating default creative can sometime improve overall performance depending on their historical quality scores.

3. Adjust Campaign Budgets

During the holiday season, most campaign budgets were expanded to support an increase in traffic volume. As December comes to an end, review your January campaign daily budgets from 2012 and ensure that appropriate budgets have been set heading into 2013. Be sure to factor in projected spend increases to your paid search program and allocate budgets across your campaigns accordingly. Forgetting to adjust daily budgets to align with seasonality could end up costing you a significant chunk of your monthly budget in the first week of January.

4. Generate Reports

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a fantastic opportunity to look back at not only the holiday season, but the entire year in review. Being so tactical about new campaigns and launching new programs throughout the course of a year, makes it difficult to spend the necessary amount of time analyzing trends and reviewing granular levels of account performance. Part of closing out the 2012 holiday season is preparing for 2013, and more specifically, preparing for the 2013 holiday season.

Generate keyword level reports to understand how much RPC or conversion rate changed throughout the year. Compare campaign budgets with their actual spend levels to better allocate budgets in 2013. Generate raw search query reports to uncover additional negative keywords or new keyword opportunities. Being successful in 2013 means understanding what worked and what didn’t work in 2012. These reports will undoubtedly aid in doing exactly that.

I hope 2012 was a prosperous year for you and your paid search program. With this four-step checklist, you should be able to maintain that momentum heading into 2013. Stay tuned next week as I usher in the New Year with my search marketer’s New Year’s resolutions.

Trick or Treat: The Scariest Paid Search Mistakes

By October 31st, 2012

Halloween Pumpkin CarvingsWhat do Halloween and Search Engines have in common?  Well nothing really.  But on the scariest day of the year, we thought it would be fun to share some of the scariest search marketing mistakes.  Some of these may be stating the obvious, but nonetheless it’s always important to make sure you are paying close attention to every aspect of your paid search program. Anything short of this and you could be missing out on huge opportunities or wasting large percentages of your budget.  Rest assured that the following mistakes will more than likely result in a boss turned feral.

Freddy Krueger is a Rogue Keyword

This one takes the cake (or candy corn). Your campaigns might be performing well, but when was the last time you looked at a search query report? Run one, open it up and take a quick peek. You might be surprised to find a completely irrelevant keyword that has generated many more clicks than what would make you comfortable. Like Freddy, keywords like this one will terrorize your paid search program and your dreams. Combat this horror by continuously mining for and adding negative keywords across your campaigns. Each click you save from an irrelevant query is a click that’s made on a relevant, and hopefully converting, query. Think of it as turning a “trick” into a “treat”.

Keywords Waiting to Burst

Remember in Aliens when the little alien bursts out of the guy’s chest? Well you’ve got keywords in budget capped campaigns that are just waiting to make your night. Drill into these campaigns and run an impressions share report on your top performing keywords. If these keywords have lost impressions share due to a limited budget, it’s time to start optimizing your campaign. Find under-performing keywords and pause those. Generate search query reports and begin applying negative keywords, liberally. Take a look at your conversion rates throughout the day and week, and consider day-parting. Each of these tactics can go a long way in freeing up extra budget for your top performing keywords. Implement them today and let those little keywords burst.

Even Jason Splits out Search, Display, and Mobile

Get it? I used “split” because Jason uses a machete. So right before your boss turns feral he might go to you and ask, “How are we doing in mobile search?” As your boss flips your desk and jumps out the window onto the street, you only now begin the task of creating separate search, display and mobile search campaigns. Not only does splitting out these channels allow you to report on each segment quickly and easily, it also allows you to implement different bidding and optimization strategies. For example, bidding more aggressively on mobile keywords is an effective way to push keywords into the top two positions where a majority of all mobile clicks occur.

When Good Metrics Go Bad

Optimizing for the wrong metric can have terrifying consequences; like in The Fly when Jeff Goldblum’s character, Seth, successfully teleports himself only to slowly mutate into a fly. You might look at your paid search performance and find that the cost-per-lead (CPL) and return-on-investment (ROI) metrics line up.  But what’s occurring further down the funnel?  Too often, companies optimize against the wrong metrics and miss out on greater revenue opportunities down the funnel. If you’re a lead gen company, are you tying downstream data to top of the funnel cost data?  You could be optimizing for a low CPL, but missing out on higher CPL keywords that drive leads your sales team can actually close.  If you’re in retail, are you optimizing towards conversion rates?  If you are, you may be missing out on keywords that may have lower conversion rates but much higher margins.

On the scariest day of the year, remember to avoid these ghastly paid search mistakes. Take the treats I’ve offered throughout this post and stash them away for recall throughout 2013. When these mistakes are avoided, even the likes of Freddy, Jason, Seth or an alien can’t stop your paid search program from taking off on a broom and reaching its full potential. Have a safe and happy Halloween!